I do not know of any county in the world where a territory is given a status similar to that of the Federal Administrative Tribal Areas of Pakistan, which is considered a part of the county and yet enjoys virtual independence. The government at the centre or in the province has had nothing to do with law and order, education, health or development in the area. The government has military cantonments in the Tribal Territories, locates its troops there and maintains communications and facilities such as water and electric supply primarily to meet the army's requirements. When Pakistan came into existence it inherited this system from the British who did not administer these territories but maintained liaison with the tribes inhabiting these territories through civil servants called Political Agents. These Political Agents dealt with the tribes through people of influence amongst the tribes known as Maliks who were in their pay. The system worked fairly well. The people remained illiterate and were almost continuously involved in inter-tribal disputes and strife. Sometimes a local leader rebelled against the government and the army was used to deal with the situation. The last of these in North Waziristan during British days was the Faqir of IPPI. His struggle lasted for nearly a quarter of a century, until mid 1950's. It was only natural that when Pakistan came into existence, with hostilities in Kashmir and its very existence in jeopardy, it could not risk changing the policy for the tribal areas of the NWFP. Quaid-e-Azam in his first statement on Pakistan's policy on Defence and National Affairs said that the tribal areas would continue to enjoy autonomy bordering on virtual independence. This policy was also necessitated by the need as not to risk an interruption in the tribal incursion into Jammu and Kashmir which had been launched almost simultaneously with the independence of Pakistan. In all the years since, Pakistan has been involved with problems of security and political turmoil, with two major wars with India and continuous tension and skirmishes in Kashmir. It is, therefore, understandable that Pakistan's policy for the tribal areas remained as it was in 1947. The Political Agents remain the government intermediaries as had been the case for nearly a hundred years and no development of any kind has taken place in these territories. Not a single factory of any kind has been built in these areas since "independence" which have remained devoid of educational institutions of any kind. A holy war was launched by the US supported by Zia and his government against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in which the tribesmen were armed with sophisticated weapons and encouraged to fight the Soviet forces. The turmoil across our western border has now further complicated matters. Rather than wait for the situation to change and normalcy to prevail on our western borders which is likely to take some time; it would be desirable to speed up the process and take steps to change the situation in the area to bring it into the 21st century. As a result of the revolution that has taken place in the information media, the people of this area are better informed now about events in the world and more conscious of their rights. Rather than carry on with the system that has prevailed in the tribal areas for over a century, it is important that the people should be brought into the mainstream of life in the country. Apart from major educational and development programmes, the people of this part of Pakistan, should be allowed to participate adequately in politics. Political parties should be allowed to function in the area, elections held and the people allowed to have a say in their future. This will bring them closer to their fellow countrymen in other parts of the county with common aims on ideological rather than on tribal or religious lines. This will necessarily take some time but is the only way of assimilating the people of these territories into the main stream of life in the country. The majority of the people of the tribal areas do not support the present wave of terrorist attacks being carried out in the country but have no voice in their affairs. This would involve them directly in the affairs of their area that can help to improve the situation. It is true that in one or two settled districts, the law and order situation is not satisfactory but this has been the fallout of the deteriorating situation in the tribal areas which has become the nursery for the spread of terrorism in the settled districts of the country. To rely on military measures alone is not the answer and is not likely to succeed. The writer is a political analyst